'Mary Lynch' directors plead innocence of bias
Andrew Roach, co-director of the recently staged play 'The Innocence of Guilt: The Mary Lynch Story, has swung back at critics who claim the theatrical piece is lending support to a convicted murderer. The play's run at the Jamaican Shopping Club theatre ended last Sunday night and was well attended, according to Roach.
However, despite the support the producers have seen in terms of persons coming to watch the piece, Roach says there are a few persons who have expressed concerns over the way the story was told. "Some people are questioning the fairness of the story because the angle we took was from Mary Lynch's perspective," he said. "We are sensitive to the family and friends (of the deceased); however, there are two sides to every story. We are not playing judge in support of either party. We simply told a story, and, like any situation in life, persons are free to draw their own conclusions."
According to Roach, there are more positives than negatives to draw from 'The Mary Lynch Story' and he wants critics to try and focus on those high points rather than being stuck solely on the 'murder story'. "This play was also made to draw attention to domestic violence and to prevent certain negative situations from reoccurring. My co-director and I sat with Mary for hours and her only concern, inspired by the #MeToo movement, is to get the word out there," he said.
Keesha Gooch, who shared directing duties for The Mary Lynch Story, pointed out that the theatre is a powerful tool. She emphasised the need for stories to be told that combat issues like abuse, and says some Jamaicans should give local productions a chance to shine objectively. "Last year, we won three Actor Boy nominations for Tek Yuh Hand Offa Mi, which is a fictional piece also about abuse. This shows that there are people who recognise the work that we are doing, because there is a positive message behind all the planning and sleepless nights," she said.
"It's disheartening that some persons cannot see it. However, it is our duty to open eyes and make our country into a safer place for everybody. We encourage persons not to judge but, instead, see for themselves why the piece is doing well."
Mary Lynch was convicted of the 1992 murder of her husband, Leary Lynch, and served 14 years before being released from the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre in 2007.